Going the Extra Mile for Kids with Diabetes
Jennifer Boughton, a social worker with a focus on endocrinology at Children’s National Hospital, specializes in helping kids improve their health. Three years ago, she noticed patients with dangerously high blood sugars in our emergency department who were treated in the moment, but left without a plan for ongoing care. These children didn’t have health insurance because of their immigration status.
“This prospect upset the entire diabetes team, but many of us felt like there was little that we could do to address the situation,” says Dr. Andrew Dauber, chief of our endocrinology department. “Jennifer refused to accept this reality.”
At the first Diabetes Access Clinic, the team discovered that a teenage boy was on the verge of a life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis episode, which would have led him to intensive care. Help at the clinic stabilized his blood sugar levels. Today, he feels much better and his risk for diabetic complications, such as blindness or loss of limbs, is greatly reduced.
The clinic celebrated its second anniversary in January 2021. It takes place every three months, even operating throughout the pandemic with safety measures in place. Families can see a doctor, diabetes nurse, nutritionist, psychologist and their trusted social worker, Jennifer. They also receive free medicine and diabetes supplies.
“One of my favorite sayings is that ‘every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story,’” Jennifer says. “I love being a part of these families’ successes.”